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Expert Answers: Mental Impact of COPD.

Expert Answers: Mental Impact of COPD

Dealing with COPD can be stressful – both physically and emotionally. Having a community of understanding people around you – whether they’re patients, caregivers, experts, family members, or friends (in-person and online!) – can be extremely helpful, however, we wanted to find out more from our experts. So, check out their answers to the following question:

I’ve heard/felt that the mental impact of COPD (i.e., anxiety, depression) can be as bad as the physical impact. How do I deal with this?

Response from John
Studies show that exercise, even if it’s a simple walk, can boost your mood and keep you healthy. So make sure you stay as active as you can during the course of your life. It’s also essential that you see your doctor on a regular basis and follow your treatment regime to a tee. It’s also a good idea to join a pulmonary rehabilitation program to teach you how to stay active. Such programs also offer a supporting case of medical experts and fellow COPDers to motivate you. It also helps to have a good supporting case of friends and friends and to hang around COPD communities like ours.

Response from Leon
Coping with COPD is a challenge that can be met. There is no question, that the physical impact of COPD can be significant. However, patients with COPD also report or demonstrate symptoms that can include a full range of emotions. These may include: depression, fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, helplessness, etc. Life with COPD has its moments, both good and bad. This is considered normal; adjusting to life with a chronic disease can take a long time and extensive support. To help deal with the range of feelings you are experiencing, combined with your physical symptoms, you can begin by discussing your feelings with your physician. After that, reaching out for additional support can be of great benefit. Family, friends, as well as your team of health care providers in a rehabilitation program or home care setting will complement one another’s efforts. For additional resources you may find this link at COPD.net helpful.

Response from Lyn
For some, the anxiety and mental anguish associated with a COPD diagnosis can be as overwhelming as the disease itself and have a significant impact on your life. First, talk candidly with your doctor about how you feel emotionally. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about your feelings. There are many treatments available for depression and anxiety related to COPD. Remember, knowledge is power, so educate yourself about COPD and learn ways to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate how you feel. This will alleviate some of the anxiety associated with COPD. Learn your limits and respect them. Ask family and friends for support and understanding. You may find joining a support group and interacting with other people in a similar situation is also beneficial.

Comments

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator
    5 days ago

    Actually, experiencing some anxiety with COPD can be normal. I think it would be a great idea to talk to your doctor about this, as your doctor may have some ideas for helping you better cope with it. Along with talking to your doctor, here is an article you may find helpful. Good luck. John. Site Moderator. https://copd.net/living/managing-anxiety/

  • Thedoc
    4 days ago

    Thank you i will let you know the outcome

  • Thedoc
    5 days ago

    Hi all since I’ve been on oxygen at home since last Christmas (16hrs daily)I’ve found lately that I’ve started to struggle a little with my nerves is this normal I’m contemplating going to see my doctor about it any advice would be greatly appreciated

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    4 days ago

    Hi again Thedoc – I have to agree with Leon and John with regards to your nerves. Anxiety and COPD seem to go together. I would recommend keeping track of when you’re feeling anxious and nervous so that you can give your doctor very specific information. It may also teach you something about yourself. You may find there’s something you can do to alleviate it based on when it’s happening or what the primary cause is. Let us know how you make out.
    Best – Lyn (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    4 days ago

    Hi Thedoc and thanks for your post. I would tend to agree with John’s reply to your comment. Anxiety is often times associated with managing one’s COPD and I believe that the article John provided for you will underscore that view. You’re idea of speaking to the physician is the most prudent thing for you to do next. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • JohnG43
    2 weeks ago

    I am new to this forum. I was diagnosed in 2014 with COPD as a result of a chest x-ray and subsequent CT scans and monitoring. I have a number of new issues with my lungs/airway/bronchial tubes. Was hospitalized for a week, and discharged with O2 , antibiotics, a nebulizer and some inhalers. Will start pulmonary therapy in a couple of weeks as followup and see what happens.
    I signed up for this forum last night, and hope I am now able to read and post questions. Thank you all in advance for any help or experience you might offer.
    Regards,
    John

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi JohnG43 and welcome! You’ve certainly come to the right place. We appreciate you sharing your medical history with the community. Since, as you said, you are new here, I thought this article might provide you with some helpful information about our website: https://copd.net/news/welcome-newcomers/, We’re glad to have you as part of our online community and look forward to your continued participation. Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Linda
    3 weeks ago

    I must say I’m so thankful for this online support. It is very helpful to me. You’ve nailed it with answering questions I have had. In fact it was with ‘online support’ that I quit smoking 5 years ago and for that I’ll be forever grateful!

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Linda – That is so nice to hear! Thank you for being a part of the community – it’s everyone like you that make it what it is.
    We love to hear success stories such as yours and being helped to quit smoking. That’s wonderful!
    -Lyn (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Linda and thanks for your post and the kind words. We’re so glad to hear how much you appreciate our website support. Glad to hear as well, that you’ve been smoke-free for 5 years. Keep up the good work! Leon (site moderator)

  • deebea
    2 months ago

    After my recent annual pulmonary function test, my Dr. told me I am now on stage 4 of COPD. It has caused me depression along with fear and full of questions. Does anyone know what the life expectancy is for stage 4?

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 months ago

    deebea, I’m glad you reached out. I hear how scary and overwhelming being told you have entered stage 4 of COPD feels for you. I hope it might ease your mind to know that many people in the community who are in stage 4 are living multiple decades at that level and still enjoying and living a full life – albeit at a slower pace! I thought this article might be affirming for you: https://copd.net/living/end-stage-the-most-dreaded-misunderstood-misinterpreted-misused-destructive-term/ Stage 4 does not mean your life is about to expire! Please know we are always here to listen when you need support or have questions. Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (COPD.net team)

  • Dennie
    2 months ago

    I am new here,,,,,so reading some of this is scaring me more. /i just got home from hospital and am on OX 24/7 for now. I did have asthma, got very sick last week, and had to call 911 . The Drs are saying its a exacerbation from a Virus, and I was told chest Xray shows beginning of COPD . My question is, will i hve to wear the oxogen forever?? or until this virus is gone??? They didn’t tel me much at the hospital. I see my Drs next week. any advice will help. thank you

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi Dennie and welcome. I’m sorry this happened to you but glad you are out of the hospital now. We cannot provide medical advice or diagnostics over the internet (for your own safety), but your concerns certainly warrant a reply. Please take a look around our website – you will find a wealth of information regarding COPD. This article may help you: https://copd.net/news/welcome-newcomers/. As well, you may want to register on our (free) asthma website which you can access here: asthma.net/register. Your physician visit next week will probably be able to provide you with the long list of questions you must already have. If we can assist you in any way, please just let us know. Good luck and please keep us apprised of your progress. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 months ago

    Dennie:
    It’s our pleasure.
    Please do keep us posted moving forward.
    Regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Dennie
    2 months ago

    ok..thank you so much

  • Phoenix59
    4 months ago

    All very good answers, i’v suffered all these symptoms & have learned to recognise & deal with them, yes knowledge is power, exercise is key as it not only helps you physically but also emotionally & mentally. the amazing part is just how quickly the body responds to exercise, confidence returns very quickly as well. as i say, We are all individuals & our illness affects us all in different ways. Acceptance & Understanding is important for copd sufferers. Maintaining a Positive & determinded attitude will serve well .

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi Phoenix and thanks for your post. We’re glad to see this article resonated so clearly with you. We also appreciate you sharing your experience with the emotional/mental impact of COPD. We appreciate your input. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • starlyte
    5 months ago

    Apart from the effects of an infection my partner still suffers from, he feels completely useless, as even going a few feet to the bathroom leave him breathless. I started taking CBD, I was depressed by his physic and especially mental state. It has helped. He is also taking it now, he’s less stressed and a bit less depressed. He was anesthesist and worked in reanimation too, so he is too aware of the, as he sees it, fatal end awaiting him, as well as the load he feels he’s putting on me. I’m handicapped too, from a bone infection that cost me my hip joint, and am on strong painkillers, but I get along. I’m hoping his specialist will find the right antibiotic when he sees her, as he just did a month of useless treatment. But it is the pschological effects that are most worrying. I am putting lots of hope in CBD. He refuses antidepressants chemical. Has any one tried this solution?

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi starlyte and thanks for your post. I would suggest you post your concerns in our ‘question and answer’ section – you may elicit more conversation there from the community. You can access it here: https://copd.net/q-and-a/. Hopefully, others will read it there more readily and provide some feedback.
    Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Merri
    6 months ago

    As of today, I know nothing about COPD, other than the fact we’ve lived 28 yrs in our house before realizing we had radon readings that were off the chart, and I was the stay at home Mom, and think I’m the sickest one between husband and me.
    He retired on disability and is now beginning to show signs of coughing, wheezing but not yet diagnosed with any specific type of breathing illness.

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi Merri,
    I am so sorry to hear that you have been affected this way. It must have been quit a bit of investigation in discovering the cause of your COPD. Please have a look around our pages. Please feel free to reach out to any of us at any time
    Barbara (Site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Merri and thanks for your post. I’m sorry to hear what you have been through in your home for the last 28 years. What are you doing now that you are aware of this situation in your home environment. Does this affect others in your community, neighborhood, region?
    You’ve certainly come to the right place to learn more about COPD. Our website is filled with information all centered on COPD. Please feel free to access our site as often and for as long as you like. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • tmckee17
    6 months ago

    Thank you so much for the information. The feelings are overwhelming at times. I need the support. I need to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. I need to see light at the end of the tunnel & I need to start thinking positive about life again.

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi tmckee17,
    I urge you to get the help you need from your doctor and health care workers.
    There is an abundance of help out there, just reach out an take it.
    Your life if worth it.
    Barbara Moore (site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi tmckee17 and thanks for your comments. We’re so glad to hear this article resonated so clearly with you. We appreciate your input and you sharing how you feel with the community. Please know we are always here for support. Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • ASAP815
    7 months ago

    2 questions please…

    My understanding is that if one stops smoking the lungs begin to regenerate after 7 years? Anyone with knowledge, a reply is appreciated.

    I am diagnosed with COPD and was told last week to now go to continuous 24/7 oxygen. I use CO2 at home, and am looking into portable BUT I am having difficulty dealing with this? I can’t imagine going into public carrying or wearing a machine? I am not a prideful person but this is an embarrassing thought for me. I am 63 but look much less feel or think that way. I don’t know what to think or how to feel about all this. I do realize it is a Blessings that I am still alive….comments appreciated.

  • Merri
    6 months ago

    Wow You’re not alone ASAP815.
    I can’t imagine handling any type of oxygen “tank” or carrying case that looks like a huge gun holster.
    I also don’t want to carry, lug, sling another thing on my back or shoulder. I’m honestly thinking about the holster method around my waistline.

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi Merri,
    If that day comes, and it doesn’t for everyone, let us know what you decide. It may help others to deal with one of the most common questions about supplemental 02.
    Barbara (site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Merri and thanks for this post, too. Should the time come when you may be prescribed supplemental oxygen therapy, there will be several options for you to chose from regarding oxygen supplies (e.g. cylinders, concentrators, portable units, etc). When and if that time comes, I’m sure you will be able to make the decision that suits your individual situation best. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi ASAP815,
    Not sure where your information comes from, but I can tell you that quitting smoking is the BEST thing you can do for yourself. You will feel so much freedom without having a pack of smokes and a lighter around your neck. Your lungs will thank you for it and so will your pocketbook!
    Barbara Moore (site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi ASAP815 and thanks for responding to this article from our website.

    It’s not clear what source you’ve used to be under an impression that lung tissue can ‘regenerate’ in a certain time period. This is something that is simply not so.

    It’s easy to understand your concern with using supplemental oxygen in public places. Many of our community members have expressed similar concerns. Interestingly enough, they’ve said that once they get used to being out in public, it’s not quite as big a deal as they anticipated. People tend to be interested in the person and personality, rather than the oxygen device they are using.
    You may want to post your concern in our ‘question & answer’ section of the website – you can access it here: https://copd.net/q-and-a/. You may get more of a response in that forum. As well, you can always visit our COPD Facebook page and start this conversation there.
    Thanks for being part of our community.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Baron
    8 months ago

    I am from the UK and have been diagnosed with Emphysema, for over 10 years and more recently with Bronchiectasis and Heart Failure. My FEV1 was 17% 3 years ago. I have also suffered a Type 1 Respiratory Failure and been intubated under an induced coma for several days. Unfortunately during that time Pseudomonas got into mys system and has been the cause of several hospitalisations. I am no longer able to walk more than a few steps but I get around at home by sliding about on an old office chair. It’s quite a bizarre method of transport but it gets the job done. I also suffer from acute anxiety and depression. Living and managing alone has been the biggest issue. Loneliness is the elephant in the room, I don’t mean the mere presence of other humans, but soemone to share your thoughts & dreams with, and it is this I find the biggest hurdle. It’s not all bad however! Even though I am on oxygen 24/7 I have a big 3 wheel mobility scooter and a smaller “Jazzy” Power Chair which I use to go to the local store and then the pub! During the past few weeks, I did exactly the ‘wrong’ thing and bought a little 2 seat MG sports car! Now, I only drive 500 miles a year and purely for leisure not for necessary transport but at least I will enjoy those 500 miles, if I can get out of the darned thing! I receive no financial assistance for care and so I have to manage best I can which is good, because it keeps me going. My message to everyone is, live every day as full as you can, as sitting still inactive will just accelerate the bad symptoms. Get the best anti anxiety drugs you can get:there used to be days that I couldn’t leave the house, but now I use Morphine Sulfate in the mornings, and Olanzapine (could be called Zyprexa in the US) and Mirtazapine (possibly Remeron?). These drugs are very effective for me but might not suit everyone. Depression & anxiety is very real with this illness so don’t hesitate even for one second to tell your physician of your issues. With the help of my doctors I have all but overcome my previous anxieties and I have found an even better antidote by finding something to do that helps others in less fortunate situations, such as giving a local cancer patient a ride to see his Consultant makes me feel good about myself. This is very important as self esteem is hard to come by when you are coughing and spluttering and gasping for air 90% of the time. Good luck everyone and keep smiling..

  • Serena
    8 months ago

    Hello Baron, I too live in England. I have recently been turned down for a lung transplant due to a number of reasons, but am still hopeful that I can be helped. I keep myself fairly active, and try and stay positive. I had two cardiac arrests in April and consider myself very lucky to be alive. Good for you buying the car, ENJOY. All the best Serena.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi Serena and thanks for your contribution to this forum. We appreciate your input and are glad to have you as a member of our online community. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi again,Baron, and thanks so much for sharing (so candidly) your life circumstances and experiences. You’ve certainly been challenged and it’s good to hear how well you are coping with your current condition and all its ramifications. Please know we are here to support and assist in any way we can, even if it’s providing you with a forum for what you choose to share with our online community, and an ear to listen.
    Warmest regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Katz6230
    9 months ago

    I’m 69 yrs. old and was diagnosed several years ago with COPD (emphysema). I started smoking when I was a teen because it was the cool thing to do. I quit almost 10 years ago. My grandfather died from emphysema and so did my dad. The weakness for the disease is hereditary from what I understand. My grandfather didn’t smoke but worked in a factory, my dad smoked. I’ve been through pulmonary rehab hoping I could qualify for lung reduction upon completion of the program but I didn’t because my lung function is too low, about 18-20%. I believe if you follow all of the advise you get from professionals it will definitely prolong your life.

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Katz6230 – thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Obviously you try very hard to do as much as you can to keep your health in the best shape possible – kudos to you! Although I’m sure you were disappointed to be denied the lung reduction surgery, I’m also positive that the pulmonary rehab was a good thing to do. I’ve honestly never seen anyone that it didn’t benefit in some way.

    Warmest Regards,
    Lyn (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi Katz6230 and thanks for your post. We appreciate you sharing such personal experiences regarding your family, their COPD history and your viewpoint on healthcare professionals’ advice. Congratulations, too, on being smoke free for almost 10 years. That is one of the most important accomplishments you can achieve for managing your COPD. It’s an accomplishment you can truly be proud of. We are glad to have you as part of our online community, too. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • Marybetty
    9 months ago

    I commented above. Please check out Liftpulmonaryrehab.com. This is an on line rehab, best thing I have done for myself. You get a free week, then only 10.00 mo. Videos with pulmonary therapist designed for each individual need.

  • EllaMorris
    9 months ago

    I agree on the anxiety, depress, frustration, helpless, when you are use to doing everything yourself for 20 plus yrs. Now you’re have a tank to carry, you’re weak from having surgeries and it takes you 3X as long to do your running and go home and carry in put away cook dinner clean up after. Take a shower.Then I am still trying to clean house and laundry. I got married 11 yrs ago, this started 2014 almost died SEPTIC Ascites C-diff. Middle of 2015 I was put on Oxygen 24×7.. Tonight I cut my husband hair after dinner.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi again, EllaMorris and thanks for your post. We understand how challenging living with COPD can be, so you are not alone. Even though you busy day seems to take longer, you seem to be extremely productive! We’re glad to have you as part of our online community – all our members know how you feel and understand what you’re going through. Please feel free to access our website as often and for as long as you like. Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Jean
    10 months ago

    Anxiety and depression are very common among people with COPD and other chronic conditions. We all want to know how to manage and control our COPD, and we need to know how to manage and control both depression and especially anxiety. My recommendation is to seek a referral to a qualified cognitive behavioral therapist who is skilled in working with anxiety and people with chronic conditions. A good therapist usually has a psychiatrist they can refer to and work with if meds are necessary; someone who will monitor and adjust medications as necessary. While the meds are helping with the symptoms, the therapist can help with the anxiety and depression, providing techniques that help the individual take control of their anxiety and depression. It’s critical that the person with the disease be able to manage and control all aspects of their disease and this aspect is absolutely necessary.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi Jean and thanks for contributing to this important concern for many of our members. We appreciate what you have to say.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • PhylissD
    10 months ago

    I am a retired Mental Health Professional. I was the director of a residential mental health facility and I now find myself struggling with anxiety and depression at times. Perhaps due to my background, I am usually able to perceive the warning signs of depression in myself. I am fortunate that I have my partner, Bob, that I can talk to as well as family. If need be there is my doctor with good listening skills, and an Rx pad, if need be. Also. I try to get outside and walk as often as possible, I read and listen to music. My cats are also soothing.

  • luvmylife1948
    9 months ago

    Phyliss, I was a client user of Mental Health Services, and then I went on to give 8yrs. back in voluntary work in Mental Health supporting clients and doing all the admin and even picked up skills. I never want to go back to suffering depression like I did for 40yrs. The counselling I received stood me in good stead to coping with bereavement when I lost my husband to cancer 6yrs. ago. We all face life difficulties that can throw us in to depression and anxiety. Even professionals can and do suffer from depression and anxiety. None of us are immune from this. Having good family/professional support at this time is invaluable. The worst thing a person can do is to just put up with it or suppress it. My best years of my life was doing voluntary work in Mental Health and I am drawn to supporting people with depression as I know how bad this can be. I only starting living when I reached my 40’s. Physical challenges/difficulties can cause us to re-enter depression/anxiety. I found that accepting what is happening is the first step. The next is FOCUS. When we focus and make the necessary changes we can find our best way forward to making life much easier for ourselves also NURTURING oneself in those down times is the platform for some Healing within ourselves. Best wishes and may life treat you well!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    This is all good to hear, PhylissD. Despite your expressed concerns, you seem to have this under control with a good support team, too. Keep up the good work! Leon (site moderator)

  • Nrsdixie
    11 months ago

    I have bi polar disorder and i have dealt with depression a long time i have a lung doctor that i could never talk to about depression. I write in my journal and enjoy music. Also i am a loner from way back. Stage 3 copd

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi again Nrsdixie and thanks for sharing so candidly your current experiences with COPD and it’s emotional impact in your situation. The depression you mention may be beyond the scope of what your lung doctor can address. If you’re interested, (s)he should be able to refer you to someone who is able to address those concerns with you. Please check back and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • lovinggrandma
    11 months ago

    I am new to this community and I thank goodness I found it. I was diagnosed with copd/emphysema in Jan 2017. My oxygen level when taken to the hospital was 69. My speech was slurred, I was hallucinating and flippant to the dr.s(not at all like me). After spending 6 days in the hospital, I was released with 24/7 oxygen, Adair, atrovent, and a nebulizer with albuterol. I am trying to adjust to this disease and find myself feeling very hopeless and alone. My primary caregiver put me on an antidepressant and hope it helps. I wish there was some way all the tobacco companies could be put out of business. I started smoking when smoking was cool not knowing it was going to bring such misery later in life. I am trying to think positive because I know it will help me in the long run. It is hard when I try to shower and have a panic attack when the water hits my face. I certainly know I’m not the only person having a hard time dealing with my “new life’. Thank you for letting me vent.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi again, lovinggrandma, and welcome to our online community. We hear you and understand exactly what you’re experiencing. We are always here to provide whatever assistance you may need so please feel free to access our site as often and for as long as you like, In view of your expressed concerns regarding showering, I thought you might find it helpful to look over this article which provides some helpful tips to guide you: https://copd.net/answers/expert-answers-showering/. We are glad to have you as a member of our online community and look forward to your continued participation. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • AntoniaHenning4
    1 year ago

    It’s hard to loose a loved one when you have a disease like ours. I hope you will talk with someone. I have and even thought it’s hard, it really helps. I am a little scared but take a pill for my depression and it helps.

  • 1 year ago

    I get depressed more and panic. I haven’t seen a specialist yet, so I probably could feel better if I had the right meds I can’t do the things I use to. I don’t like it

  • lovinggrandma
    11 months ago

    Hi Darlene. I completely understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with stage 4 copd with emphysema. My lung capacity is at 30%. I am on full time oxygen and also on Adair, advent(an inhaler) and albuterol nebulizer.. I have panic attacks even before I was diagnosed when the water would hit my face, so I can’t take showers. I ran out of oxygen in Wal-Mart checkout so I’m afraid to go out by myself now. Boy, talk about a panic attack…it wasn’t pretty. I am trying to adjust to this disease as everyone else has to. It is a struggle and frightening. My primary care provider put me on an antidepressant and it seems to help. I travel to see my pulmonary Dr. Next Thursday. I was diagnosed Jan 2017. Everyone handles this disease different. Please go see a Dr. I’ve probably had this for. A long, long time but was in denial and had no insurance. You will be in my prayers.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi lovinggrandma and thanks for your post. There is an entire online community here that understands exactly what you’re going through. Good luck on your visit with your new pulmonary physician next Thursday. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • robindowden
    1 year ago

    Hi Earlene, I have COPD with emphysema use an inhaler and have a rescue inhaler for emergency with sob. I am on oxygen 24/7 and I also get depressed and anxious. I lost my husband 2 months ago and once again my world came crashing down. Make sure you see a pulmonary dr as he will know what to do for you and will understand what you are going through. If you are diagnosed sith copd you will get proper meds. Probably oxygen and if you are on medicare your oxygen will be covered. Anxiety comes free with copd. When you have sob you will be anxious but you can learn to control it and also your copd. Most importantly, learn all you can about this disease as knowledge is power and your pulmonary doctor can put you in a rehab program that will help you tremendously. Hope this helps. My condolences on your daughter passing. That is a double whammy you have to endure so one minute at a time. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again Earlene and thanks for your post. We hear the challenges you are facing with COPD and having to cope with panic and low feelings, as you mentioned. You also have mentioned a ‘specialist’ – if you haven’t as yet, you may want to be sure to see one – a pulmonologist – is a physician who is specially trained in managing lung disease. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing.
    We wish you well.
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Thanks for letting us know, Earlene. May is only a month away now. Perhaps the physician’s office can let you know if they have an unexpected opening before that time.
    Good luck!
    Leon (site moderator)

  • 1 year ago

    I have an appt but its in May That’s the earliest I could get

  • dannelso
    1 year ago

    The constant breathlessness of copd leads to a trigger of fear or flight on a daily basis. That trigger feeds even more anxiety as we struggle to catch our breath. Through Pulmunory rehab we learn breathing exversid e d

  • 1 year ago

    My daughter died of an asthma attach. This breathlessness makes me think of her

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Earlene – I’m sorry to hear you lost your daughter to asthma. As you said, you must have her on your mind often when you are feeling breathless. I’m hopeful you have a support system for yourself that helps you to deal with your emotions and your own condition as well.
    Warmly,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi dannelso and thanks for your post. We have heard from other community members who have indicated positive views and results using pulmonary rehabilitation programs. It sounds like you also find them to be helpful.
    We appreciate your input.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • chrismarshallip
    1 year ago

    i think i must be one of the lucky ones if you can call it that i was a very sickly child with severe asthma ( this was before the invention of inhalers yes it was crowded on the ark lol) so i treat the COPD like asthma im more bothered by my other health issues but i have an old friend who was recently diagnosed and it has knocked her for six. she finds it reassuring that i am not depressed about it positivity is what is needed

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi chrismarshallip and thanks for your post. I’d have to agree with you – a positive attitude and outlook can go a long, long way towards coping with COPD. Keep up the good work! Leon (site moderator)

  • dcberger2
    2 years ago

    i have had copd for twenty plus years, but i have never had mucus in my lungs, dr tells me i dont have the bronchitis type of copd. does tthis mean i wont have to deal with the mucus in my lungs? ***Editor’s note: comment edited to remove personal information***

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    HI dcberger2 – I think you’ll find the link that Jenn has provided will make very interesting and helpful reading.
    In view of your concern related to mucus, bronchitis, emphysema and ultimately COPD, I thought you also might find it helpful to look over this article as well: https://copd.net/basics/damaged-lungs/.
    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    HI dcberger2,

    Thanks for your question. Just wanted to let you know we removed your email address, as our Community Rules do not allow the sharing of personal information, for your safety. While you may hear back on your question from community members, I want to encourage you to ask your doctor about your specific case and what it means for the future, if you haven’t already. Additionally, this post on mucus might be helpful: https://copd.net/clinical/mucus-with-copd/.

    Thanks again for reaching out!
    Jenn (COPD.net Team)

  • pjoanneb
    2 years ago

    anxiety and depression are hardest for me, waiting on stress test to go to rehab-praying it helps

  • bruceb
    2 years ago

    Pjoanneb, I am a very social person, my life before retirement was teaching Sociology at a SUNY Communuity College and I understand what you are speaking about. It is by far the most difficult thing one can endure. Not only does it take your breath away but it takes your dignity. Away, it makes you feel invisible in an amusement park with your Grandkids, you feel you are the freak from a Carnie show and whatever you did prior to COPD does not show in your face, posture or spirit. Yes I have experienced those, i have had one hospitalization and a second close call. I am on oxygen 24/7 and after a cursory review I’d COPD stages i am between III and IV. As i have told people close to me i have one foot on the banana peel and one foot in the grave. Ive been in rehab twice with an year hiatus and the treadmill I’m lucky if i can do 6 minutes, at 1.5 MPH. This is down from 15 minutes at 1.7. Anyway Pjoanneb, my thoughts are with you!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi pjoanneb – I’m sorry to hear your struggling with anxiety and depression. As you can see, others in our community have similar issues, so you are not alone! Please check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • rena
    1 year ago

    I’m new here
    Been diagnosed with COPD for about for five years lost my job because of being unable to perform three years ago was told or use oxygen 24 seven did not do it in a year I had and and had an exacerbation December 31, 2016 I was in ICU for 12 days came out of there shattered both both physically and mentally
    Very depressed for about six months totally defeated then things changed
    I started using my Google to see what other people were dealing with and discovered for myself that trying to keep up with everyone else’s had been defeating me every day then I read a blog or someone said no matter what you do make sure you go your own pace
    It was like someone turned on the light I begin to do it immediately I slow down they kept going pretty soon we kind of Mary in the middle now I’m happy and can’t wait to live another day

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    1 year ago

    Rena, welcome to the COPD.net community! I’m glad you are here and appreciate you sharing so honestly about your journey with COPD. It can be such a difficult disease. It is wonderful that your epiphany on taking things at your pace without comparing to others (with or without COPD) has made such a difference in how you approach living your life with COPD. That is such a positive perspective! Keep up the great attitude and know we are always here to listen when you need support. ~Allyson (COPD.net team)

  • Sue z
    2 years ago

    I tend to get frustrated with myself when I am unable to do something. This is because on top of my COPD I have degenerative disc disorder and have neck and back problems. I was in pulmonary rehab and immensely enjoyed the exercise and group interaction. However due to the increased severity of my disc problem I was unable to continue therapy. I am now going to have surgery on my neck which involves fusion of discs at two levels. Back surgery will probably be done at a later date. This is what adds to my frustration and creates additional breathing problems. I try so hard to maintain a positive attitude but some days it is hard to do so. I do have two very close friends who understand my situation and do everything they can to get me out of the house and moving. I need a mobility scooter but can’t afford to purchase one on my own. I understand that it is very difficult to get one through Medicare. Anyone have thoughts on how to go about getting Medicare to pay for it?

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    That’s good to hear Sue z. Your pulmonologist prescribing pulmonary rehab for you is a good thing. Perhaps now he can work with you on securing the mobility scooter for you through a third party payer. Please keep us posted.
    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Sue z and thanks for your inquiry about scooters and medicare/social security benefits. It can be challenging trying to get the equipment you need to function through third party payers, especially when the government is involved, so we hear you!
    Although I have limited experience with reimbursement for mobility scooters, you may be able to reach out to your medical supplier (of the scooters). They should be very well versed in being able to guide you through the process and may even be able to handle the paperwork for you. If they work in concert with the physicians who are providing your care, and who are aware of your disability, this could work well for you. Please check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Nonmie6179
    2 years ago

    Where do you find or how do you gind pulomonary regab groups? Right now im having trouble with depression again i am taking prozac but i am so dismayed. I keep proctadtinatingsbout doing things, aftaid to ealk some of this is fear but im having the worst time. I am whining i lnow but right now i eant to have a good melt down. Sorry

  • suzannebigras
    1 year ago

    Hi nonmie6179
    Whining is good for the soul. I have depression and anxiety as well and I find that if I keep my ever changing feelings bottled up,my symptoms get far worse. I have learned the art of Procrastination and learning acceptance on that one. Journaling is a challenge but occasionally I do it and it helps. I can swear really good on paper,lol. At times meditation works and other times it frustrates me cause my brain is racing. I am now trying a reaching out forum because I am isolating and finding more difficult each time to get back out there.
    Please keep reaching out cause I need to hear from people like you.
    I have melt downs then I feel better and wonder what just Hit me. We have a terrible disease and knowledge in medicine is growing with the help of people like us who show that we are more than a pair of lungs.
    This site is helping me see that I still have lots to offer even if it’s not in my “used to” mode.
    Again thank you for your courage.

  • Sue z
    2 years ago

    My Pulmonologist was the one who suggested the rehab group and wrote the orders for it.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi nonmie6179. Sorry to hear of the challenging time you’re facing at this moment. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please let me or any other moderator/team member know.
    As for finding local pulmonary rehabilitation programs in your area, you may want to first ask your physician. You can also inquire at your local hospital. And finally, you can do a ‘search’ locally on the internet for pulmonary programs in your particular location.
    Please be sure to check back with us and let us know how you’re doing.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • esthirc
    2 years ago

    I was just diagnosed a week ago. I am still can’t believe it. Though I’ve had asthma bronquitis since I was born and get flee ups every few months. I’m surprised I have been feeling good going to gym exercising. And I’ve lost weight. I went to Pulmonologist because my cardiologist said I should get my sleep apnea checked. I hadn’t in 8 yrs, I’ve had my machine since then. And I had pulmonary hypertension. And wouldn’t you know it the Pulmonologist diagnosed me with COPD. I feel all kinds off things. Upset, sad, frustrated. I’m trying to learn more about it. I’m trying not to let it get to me. I haven’t even told my son yet.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Alicefay and thanks for your post. It sounds like you’re facing some very significant health care challenges which certainly does cause significant emotional issues to deal with as well. We are always here to help in any way, even if it’s to provide a sympathetic ear and support for you as well. We’re glad to have you as part of our online community.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Alicefay
    2 years ago

    It’s overwhelming, I was admitted for acute resp failure 6 months ago and now I’m on 02 24/7 prior to that I didn’t know I had anything wrong with my lungs, just kept getting a cough with low 02 X-ray normal . After admitted in Jan 02 was 77 I had a multitude of test cardiac cath showed PH , Which I thought was a death sentence than my PFT showed COPD which is very bad with ph. I was bummed out didn’t want to do anything family didn’t get it. Then in may I had another CT scan of lung which showed multiple nodules and groundglass pattern cocsistant with DIPENCH which I’d never heard of . I get so tired of putting on a smile when inside I’m falling apart. I think out emotions are normal responses but it does t make this anxiety, and sadness feel any better. Anyway I wish u good things . Be glad to talk anytime

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    Hi esthirc –

    I’m so sorry for your recent diagnosis, it makes sense that you’re feeling all kinds of feelings! I’m so glad you came here – you can come by any time you’d like to express how you’re feeling, get some support, information, or just a listening ear!

    I thought you might appreciate this page, it’s for people who are new to COPD.net: https://copd.net/news/welcome-newcomers/.

    It sounds like you’re doing the right things by taking care of yourself and visiting the doctor and specialists regularly, as well as considering how to tell your son. Many people in the community find it helpful to share articles from this site to explain different aspects of the condition.

    We encourage you to keep doing what helps you feel better and to “not let it get you”! You might appreciate this article from Derek on adopting a great attitude (which it sounds like you have!) https://copd.net/living/attitude-stress/. And, we welcome you to our community and hope you come by any time – you are not in this alone!

    Warmly,
    Jenn (COPD.net Team)

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